Gunmen set off explosives and fired on a cattle market in remote northeastern Nigeria overnight, killing at least 56 people, a nurse who received bodies in the local hospital told Reuters on Thursday.
The police commissioner put the number of dead at 34.
It was not clear who was behind the attack on Wednesday night in the town of Potiskum, Yobe State, which has been an occasional target for the Boko Haram sect.
“I have counted 56 bodies at the morgue and I am sure that the death toll could rise in view of the serious nature of injuries sustained,” the nurse at Potiskum hospital, who gave his name as Babangida, said.
“The Potiskum mortuary is made up of a room and a parlor and I counted the 56 in the parlor only. I didn’t go into the inner room.”
Police Commissioner Moses Namiri said security forces had confirmed 34 killed and that Islamist sect Boko Haram was suspected to be behind the attack.
“Everybody knows the modus operandi of BH (Boko Haram): they threw explosives and used guns,” he said. “The gunfire lasted for almost an hour.”
Witness Mama Yusuf, a retired civil servant, said there were dead bodies on the ground, though he could not say how many.
“I saw dead bodies all around the place and the emergency services taking people to hospitals,” he said.